February 6, 2004 11:29 AM   Subscribe

I have some old video tapes that I'd love to convert to digital video, storing the data on DVDs and/or my g5. Is there a good way to do this? Is it possible to transfer commercial video tapes in addition to personal tapes? I'm a video novice, but catch on quickly.
posted by jdroth to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Try this.
posted by sad_otter at 12:17 PM on February 6, 2004

Todd at What Do I Know just posted how he did it with his G5 and old tapes.
posted by mathowie at 1:29 PM on February 6, 2004

I bought a DVD burner to do this but ran into some problems if you have a lot of tapes like I do (100s) you may want to reconsider. In the end I decided keeping the VHS collection was the better idea.

1) It takes forever. It's a 3 step process, digitize to computer, process, write to DVD. A 6 hour VHS tape might take 10 or more hours. Pro equipment can speed it up but I don't have pro equipment.

2) There will be loss of quality.

3) VHS tapes properly stored can last a long long time. And even if they go bad it might only be a part of the tape, since it's analog you can recover easily enough, cut and slice the tape. DVDs estimates range 10-50 years by which time the technology will probably be outdated anyway.

I suspect VHS will be with us for a long time and there is no rush to convert and that in 5 years time a new technology will be available to consumers that will make the conversion to digital a no brainer, as it is, it's not fun and easy or clearly a better way to store video, pros and cons for doing the conversion. Anyway, that's my justification for not spending 1000+ hours of time just to free up a box in the basement.
posted by stbalbach at 5:51 PM on February 6, 2004

If you're going to end up spending more than $100 or so on a converter, I'd seriously consider just laying out the money for a digicam with analog ins -- I recently bought a Canon ZR65MC from Fry's for $399 (and you can find them online for around $360+) and it has RCA ins, and a stereo mic in -- you might not be able to go *directly* to your computer, and instead have to copy stuff to tape and then dump it via firewire, but hey, you'll have a nice digital camera for when you're done converting your tapes and have a $200 doorstop.
posted by fishfucker at 5:55 PM on February 6, 2004

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